Greedy genes: The role of appetite in genetic susceptibility to obesity Seminar

On Wednesday 16th May we are pleased to welcome Dr. Clare Llewellyn from the UCL's Department of Behavioural Sciences for our external seminar series.


There is considerable variation in early weight gain, despite the ubiquity of the ‘obesogenic’ food environment; some children gain excessive weight, while others do not. Genetic susceptibility to the environment is thought to explain some of the variation in early weight gain, with differences in appetite being implicated as one of the mediating mechanisms, so-called ‘Behavioural Susceptibility Theory’ (BST). BST hypothesises that children who inherit a more avid appetite, and lower sensitivity to satiety, are more likely to overeat in response to the modern food environment and to gain excessive weight. This talk summarises the role of appetite in early weight gain and eating behaviour, using data from Gemini – the largest twin birth cohort ever set up to study genetic and environmental influences on early growth.

About the speaker

Dr Clare Llewellyn is a Lecturer in Behavioural Obesity Research in UCL’s Department of Behavioural Science and Health, where she leads the Obesity Research Group. She is also an honorary Research Fellow at Liverpool University. After an initial career in the pharmaceutical industry, Clare retrained as a Psychologist, undertaking an MSc and PhD at UCL, and post-doctoral training at UCL and King’s College London. Her research interest is understanding how genes and the environment interact to promote excessive weight gain in early life, with a focus on eating behaviour. In 2007, with Professor Jane Wardle she helped establish Gemini, the largest population-based birth cohort of twins ever set up to study genetic and environmental contributions to early life growth. Clare currently leads the Gemini study. She is also a Trustee for the UK Association for the Study of Obesity. Clare recently published her first book ‘Baby Food Matters’ which translates many years of scientific research into evidence-based practical advice about infant feeding for caregivers


Psychology Building, Room 1.33 / 1.34